… [John the Baptist] saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world. He is the one of whom I said, ‘A man is coming after me who ranks ahead of me because he existed before me.’” (John 1:29-30 NABRE)
“Behold the Lamb of God!” This acclamation, heard at every Eucharistic celebration, is central to our understanding of God’s presence among us. The “source and summit” of Sacramental life, from the Last Supper until the Second Coming of Christ, is Sunday Mass. Jesus, aware that His hour had come, established a means to “be with [us] always, even until the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20).
The Source and Summit
As Catholics, we treasure the gift that truly is the lifeblood in the Body of Christ here on Earth. The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains:
The Eucharist is “the source and summit of the Christian life”[Lumen Gentium 11]. The other sacraments, and indeed all ecclesiastical ministries and works of the apostolate, are bound up with the Eucharist and are oriented toward it. For in the blessed Eucharist is contained the whole spiritual good of the Church, namely Christ himself, our Pasch. (CCC 1324)
The Blessed Sacrament, Christ Himself as stated above, is the beginning and end of our spiritual life as Catholics. The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, culminating with the Liturgy of the Eucharist, allows communion with God and one another, sharing Christ’s real presence. The Eucharistic compliments all of the other ways that God is beheld among us. This mode is unpacked further in the Catechism:
The mode of Christ’s presence under the Eucharistic species is unique. It raises the Eucharist above all the sacraments as “the perfection of the spiritual life and the end to which all the sacraments tend” [St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae III, Q. 73, A. 3 resp.]. In the most blessed sacrament of the Eucharist “the body and blood, together with the soul and divinity, of our Lord Jesus Christ and, therefore, the whole Christ is truly, really, and substantially contained” [Council of Trent (DS 1651)]. “This presence is called ‘real’—by which is not intended to exclude the other types of presence as if they could not be ‘real’ too, but because it is presence in the fullest sense: that is to say, it is a substantial presence by which Christ, God and man, makes himself wholly and entirely present” [St. Paul VI, Mysterium Fidei 39]. (CCC 1374)
Time to Behold the Lamb
The seven days of each week comprise 168 hours. If we subtract one hour for Sunday Mass (or even an additional six for daily Mass), we are left with over 160 hours to behold the Lamb in daily life. The initials FGIAT (Finding God In All Things) apply here.
From the time we are dismissed from Mass, until the time we return, we have the mandate of discipleship and evangelization: bringing Christ to others as living witnesses. We can behold the Lamb in all we meet in our thoughts, words, and deeds throughout the week. The real presence of the Blessed Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit can be made manifest in our lives as we tend toward and flow from the Sunday Gathering.
Approximately 56 hours of our weekly time is spent in the unconscious state of sleep. Although we have no control over our dreams and autonomic functions while we slumber, we do have control over how we enter into and exit from a state that represents a third of the daily hours we’re given. Prayers at night, along with a short examination of the preceding hours can set the tone for our unconscious activity and prepare us for the next day.
We Have Been Sent
The days and hours of the week culminate at Sunday Mass which, at its dismissal, sends us forth to bring the “fruits of the Eucharist” to all we meet. The following quote from the USCCB can serve as a conclusion of this article:
After the blessing, the deacon dismisses the people. In fact, the dismissal gives the liturgy its name. The word “Mass” comes from the Latin word, “Missa.” At one time, the people were dismissed with the words “Ite, missa est” (literally meaning “Go, she—meaning you, the Church—has been sent”). The word “Missa” is related to the word “missio,” the root of the English word “mission.” The liturgy does not simply come to an end. Those assembled are sent forth to bring the fruits of the Eucharist to the world. (“The Structure and Meaning of the Mass”, para. 34)